Q: Much of your work brings the wilderness into focus. What about this inspires you?
I’ve had a long preoccupation with uncultivated land and its unique physical expression. Bursting with life, and rustling each of our senses, the wilderness is achingly beautiful and why I’ve spent the last 30 years living next to the 2nd largest wilderness area in the lower 48.
Recognizing the importance of wilderness areas – wild lands – is integral to the central theme I explore: “care of self, care of other”. Vulnerable, delicate, and essential to all life, wild lands require our care.
Q: What steered you in this direction?
Exploration. My twin and I spent our childhood exploring on our bikes, to find and see new things equaled continuous excitement. Since high school, I continue to venture into the unknown, spending time in environments as different or far away from mine as I can find.
Q: How has the pandemic influenced your work?
In the moment I realized that my day-to-day was coming to a stop, I knew I would intensely focus on my practice. As challenging and difficult as the pandemic has been, it has afforded me the time and freedom to explore some ideas that feel more urgent than ever.
Q: Photography is a medium based on the preservation of a single moment. Are you attempting to document a changing landscape by freezing it in time?
Yes, especially given how rapidly we are altering the earth’s surface. Surface Surveys is a record of the planet’s natural expression, unhindered yet dominated by man. They highlight the contrasts between protected and unprotected lands in our current, anthropocentric age.
Q: Why is color important to you?
I spend a lot of time observing, and at times, color – its subtlety – is so striking that I feel as if I’m glimpsing something hidden, and always something fleeting.
I grew up with frequent migraines from the age of 5 that would debilitate me for whole days. The way I managed the pain was through color visualization. I believe color has always held some restorative value.
Q: Tell me a bit about growing up in Pittsburgh and the influence it had on your work.
I grew up in industrial Pittsburgh of the 70’s and 80’s, and still recall the smell of pollution on summer mornings. My father spent his career at US Steel. We drove American cars. It was city proud of its blue collar and melting-pot constituents and still is. Growing up and experiencing life through the lens of industry, while being introduced to the idea of exotic places, catalyzed an internal need to go out and explore and, in particular, experience natural, untouched places.
By mid-20’s, I was irrevocably drawn to parts unknown, particularly to open, vast, remote places.
Q: It seems that this city eventually inspired the move West to Idaho and its protected environment.
Yes, I drove to Idaho in ‘92, where I have been for the past 30 years, surrounded by the one of the largest areas of protected, wild lands in the lower 48. I wanted to live in a place where the natural environment dictates the way of life, where one senses the physiography of the place. Our seasons are distinct. Five mountain ranges surround us, we have the nation’s only Dark Sky Preserve, and if you drive 10 minutes in any direction from town, you’re in the backcountry.
Q: Your recent projects extend beyond the photo-based medium you began with. What mediums interest you? What is on the horizon?
Yes, I’ve begun to explore specific ideas – urgent personal concepts – that invite creative exploration of new mediums to me. I’m interested in the healing properties of light, and creating works around them.
Q: Who are the artists who have had an influence on you?
Richard Long, Ursula von Rydingsvard, James Turrell. Leo Villereal, Sabina Ratte